Recently in Local News Category

Police arrest suspected metro area armed robber

by Shannon Lee
Dane Robert Nelson, 20, was arrested Thursday night in Albert Lea on suspicion of seven armed robberies in the metro area.
Several people notified police agencies and named Nelson after a surveillance video was broadcast, reported the Star Tribune.
A Bloomington convenience store clerk that was robbed while working on Dec. 4 later identified Nelson in a photo lineup.
Nelson is charged with one count of aggravated robbery. Police suspect he is also connected to similar robberies around the metro, and additional charges are likely. South St. Paul Police Chief Dan Vujovich told KSTP the robberies were committed the same way each time.
"A lone white male, he comes into the store, displays a black semi-automatic handgun, with a plastic bag and demanding money from the cashier," Vujovich said.
No one was injured during the robberies.

Three dead after a fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle

by Shannon Lee
A Minneapolis woman and her two sons were killed early Sunday morning when a suspect who was fleeing a state trooper in a stolen vehicle crashed into their car.
The suspect, Rufus Onel Victor, 29, fled the accident scene and was later found hiding along nearby railroad tracks by a state trooper, according to the Star Tribune.
Amanda Thomas and her son Andre, 12, were killed instantly. Her 3-month-old son Akeron died shortly after.
Witness Cynthia Haynes told KSTP she saw a child fly out of the car and that all victims appeared dead.
Victor's records show a criminal history that includes burglary, receiving stolen property, car theft and driving without a license, reported the Star Tribune.
Victor's sister, Renata Wesley, told the Star Tribune her brother "wanted to change his life" and never meant to kill anyone.

Powderhorn neighbors to rally in the park

by Shannon Lee
Residents who live near Powderhorn Park will meet in its northeast corner Wednesday evening for a "Reclaim the Park" rally.
Community leaders and authorities plan to raise awareness and discuss ways to prevent violent crime from occurring in the park, Fox 9 reported.
The vigil will be held one week after a 45-year-old woman said she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint by four teenage boys while she was cross-country skiing with her two children. Police said the teens fled from the park and were found sexually assaulting two other girls in their garage shortly after.
Residents living in the area have reported at least two other serious crimes in November. Police told Kare 11 that a man exposed himself to a woman and tried to grab her Saturday night in her apartment one block from the park.
The rally will also raise money for a 12-year-old girl who doctors said will most likely be paralyzed for life after she was accidentally shot two blocks away from the park on Nov. 12.

Ex-convict jailed following bar holdup

by Shannon Lee
Police arrested Tyice Alexander Phillips, 33, and are seeking other suspects in connection with an armed robbery of a White Bear Lake bar Saturday morning that left one injured.
Witnesses told police that two or three men entered the bar shortly before 2 a.m. and demanded cash.
A bar employee said one of the men pointed a gun to her head and told her to open the safe. A customer told police that he pushed the gun to the floor and the gunman pulled the trigger, causing another patron to be hit with the bullet when it ricocheted off the floor, reported the Star Tribune.
White Bear Lake Police Chied Lynne Bankes told the Pioneer Press she believes Phillips was the suspect who fired the gun.
Phillips is an ex-convict who had been out on supervised parole for four months. He served nearly three years in prison for invading a North End home and holding a mother and four children at gunpoint with three or four other armed men, the Pioneer Press reported.

Lockheed Martin announced plans to close a plant in Eagan

by Shannon Lee
Global security company Lockheed Martin said Thursday it will close a plant in Eagan. The company plans to eliminate or move 1,000 jobs by 2013.
Company spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo said the closing is needed to cut costs, reported MPR.
About 650 employees will have the opportunity to move to New York, Virginia or California to keep their jobs if they choose, reported the Star Tribune. The remaining 350 will be let go.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire both expressed concerns over the plant's announcement and said they hope to meet with Lockheed Martin officials to discuss the possibility of keeping the plant open.

Drinking ban lifted from University fraternities

by Shannon Lee
The Interfraternity Council lifted an alcohol ban that followed three reported sexual assaults at University of Minnesota fraternities.
In lieu of the ban, fraternity members will have to comply with a new set of policies.
Fraternities will only be allowed to have alcohol present at social gatherings when guests do not outnumber the amount of fraternity members present. Alcohol will still be banned from parties with larger numbers of guests.
Volunteers from other fraternity houses will enforce the new policy at social events. Chad Ellsworth, program director for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, told the Star Tribune that appropriate enforcement of the policy by volunteers is crucial in ensuring the regulation works.
If the new policy is lifted in the future, the IFC considered the possibility of hiring a private security guard for fraternity parties, reported the Minnesota Daily.

Home sales drop in Twin Cities

by Shannon Lee
The number of homes being sold in the Twin Cities has dropped, according to data released Wednesday by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.
Homes sales are down 3 percent from September to October, but have dropped 41 percent compared to the same time last year.
Grace Sharp, a sales agent with Market Link Realty, told the Star Tribune she expects the number of foreclosures to increase in 2011 since a brief moratorium on foreclosure activity was lifted.
Although the housing market's future does not look great, it was even worse a few years ago, reported MPR.
Home buyers can benefit from the market slump, though, because interest rates have stayed low. Despite this, many buyers do not qualify for housing loans. Strict lending standards are in place to help prevent a repeat of the careless lending practices in the past that contributed to the housing market fall, reported the Star Tribune.

Minneapolis installs new solar-powered meters

by Shannon Lee
City workers began installing new 'smart' meters Tuesday that will give drivers the option to pay by credit card.
Drivers will still be able to pay using quarters if they choose. The meters went through a field test in Minneapolis last spring. The test showed that half of the drivers who used them used credit cards, according to MPR.
The new meters come with additional benefits. People can add time to their meter using any pay station, and may soon be able to add time using a cell phone, City Traffic Engineer Tim Drew told the Star Tribune.
The new meters are also solar powered, which will cut city energy and labor costs.
Ward 12 Councilwoman Sandy Colvin Roy told MRP the project was unique because it is cheaper for the city, but will benefit residents too.
St. Paul is also looking into installing new credit card meters. The city began a six-month trial run downdown St. Paul in October.

Unclear future for North High

by Shannon Lee
North High School could close, only to reopen in a new form in 2012, Minneapolis school Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson said Thursday.
Due to low enrollment and test scores, the Minneapolis Board of Education will vote next Thursday on Johnson's proposal to close the school.
Board members were initially divided on Johnson's original proposal, which did not involve reopening the school with a new format. Since her announcement though, at least two board members said they will support the updated plan, MPR reported.
The new school would be built on community input and involvement. Johnson hopes it would "win back students who have left in droves for charter schools or suburban districts," the Star Tribune reported.
School board President Tom Madden said the plan would require a heavy commitment from the community and North High supporters to recruit students, according to the Star Tribune.
Not everyone likes the proposal. Gwendolyn Kinsman, a sophomore at North High, told MPR she felt that closing the school abandons current students. "It's unfair to judge the students are there by previous numbers," she said.

Minneapolis lawyer disbarred for running prostitution ring

by Shannon Lee
Former Hennepin County attorney John Paul St. Marie, 66, was disbarred after he admitted to allegations of running a prostitution ring.
St. Marie was charged with six felony accounts of promoting prostitution in July. According to Fox 9 News, he ran a website that connected prostitutes to 'nice guys' who, he said, were safe and paid well.
Police began investigating St. Marie two years ago after one of his former clients gave them a tip, reported Fox 9 News.
St. Marie previously worked on civil commitments at the Hennepin County Attorney's office, reported the Star Tribune
Supreme Court Justice Alan Page signed the order for his disbarment from the Minnesota State Bar on Friday, according to the Star Tribune.

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